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London Irish add ex-Italian international van Zyl to their coaching staff

By Online Editors

Trending on RugbyPass

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London Irish have added former Italy international Corniel van Zyl to their coaching set-up, the Gallagher Premiership club recruiting the South African native from the Cheetahs where he had been working in recent years as their lineout coach.


With the Cheetahs no long participating in the Guinness PRO14, their squad has been targeted by numerous European teams. For example, out-half Tian Schoeman recently linked up with Bath as did hooker Jacques du Toit. 

Now London Irish have got in on the act, opting to bolster their coaching set-up under Declan Kidney by signing the 41-year-old van Zyl who had been working with the Cheetahs as an assistant since 2015.  

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“I’m really pleased to be here and excited about getting to work with this talented group of players and staff,” said van Zyl. “It has always been a goal of mine to coach in the Premiership, so I’m delighted to be a part of the London Irish family.”

Kidney added: “We’re delighted Corniel has agreed to join us. His experience and know-how will complement the coaching staff that we’ve already got in place here, building on the excellent work Jonathan Fisher and Ross McMillan have overseen in the forwards department in recent months.”

During his playing days, van Zyl spent the majority of his career in Italy at Treviso where he amassed over 150 appearances in an eight-year spell. That move saw van Zyl take his first steps towards Test rugby where he represented Italy A before being named as one of two uncapped players in the Italians’ 2011 World Cup squad.


He played in four of the Azzurri’s World Cup matches, starting three times, and would earn another four caps, the last arriving in 2012 against Wales. He retired from professional rugby in 2015, playing the last of his 160 matches for Treviso. Van Zyl then moved into coaching the Cheetahs, the franchise he had played for on 48 occasions as a player earlier in his career.

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London Irish add ex-Italian international van Zyl to their coaching staff